Archive for the ‘ Parenting News ’ Category

Are Genes to Blame for Your Kid’s Lack of Motivation in School?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Discouraged boy

If your child is unmotivated to learn despite having an enthusiastic teacher or nurturing parents who encourage school success, there may be another factor to consider.

New research from Ohio State University suggests that a child’s willingness to learn can be inherited through genetics. The study collected data from more than 13,000 sets of fraternal and identical twins, ages 9 to 16, across six countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, and Japan).

The twins were asked how much they enjoyed various academic activities (like reading, writing, and spelling), and how they rated their ability in different academic subjects. The collected information was then analyzed to see how closely each twin’s answers matched, and to compare the answers of fraternal twins with identical twins (who shared more common genes).

“On average, 40 to 50 percent of the difference between twins in motivation could be explained by genetics,” reports Science Daily. “About the same percentage could be explained by what is called the twins’ nonshared environment – for example, differential parenting or a teacher that one twin has but not the other.”

The most unexpected finding was that only about 3 percent of the differences could be linked to the siblings’ shared environment, or common family experiences.

However, this research doesn’t mean that it’s time to screen for a “motivation for learning” gene, or that you should be less conscious of your child’s education. Another recent study even believes that kids raised in nurturing home environments are likely to be more intelligent. “We should absolutely encourage students and motivate them in the classroom. But these findings suggest the mechanisms for how we do that may be more complicated than we had previously thought,” says Stephen Petrill, co-author of the Ohio State University study.

Related:

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School

Image: Discouraged boy via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Family Stress Might Be Making Girls More Obese Than Boys

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Couple arguing in front of kids, boy and girlIn hopes of preventing childhood obesity, researchers are collecting data to pinpoint every potential reason why children are becoming overweight.

The latest study from the University of Houston focuses on family stressors and if they’re linked with children become obese by the time they’re 18 years old.

The study, published in this month’s issue of Preventive Medicine, concentrated on three main family stress points: family disruption, financial stress, and poor maternal health. The data of nearly 5,000 adolescents born between 1975 and 1990 was collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth.

Based on the data, there was a noticeable gender difference when it came to how kids responded to stress. For girls, they were most likely to become overweight or obese by 18 if they experienced family disruption and financial stress throughout childhood, reports Daphne Hernandez, lead author and assistant professor at the University of Houston. For boys, the only family stressor that related to their weight problems was poor maternal health.

Related: Could Your Preschooler Be at Risk for Obesity?

Focusing on more than calorie intake and physical activity may be the key to combatting the impact of family stress. Dr. Hernandez believes that many school programs that fight obesity, like the federally-funded Head Start program, are only producing short-term results. “Developing strategies to help with family stressors during childhood may help children maintain healthy weight into adulthood,” she said.

And, even worse, calling girls “fat” might make them more obese. Other research has also shown that a shocking number of parents don’t even realize their child is overweight. So as a parent, the first and possibly most important step is to be conscious and proactive about your child’s weight–and avoid using the word “fat.”

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

Image: Couple arguing in front of kids via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Another Reason Why Buying Breast Milk Online Is Not Safe

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Milk in bottleThere is no disputing that the benefits of feeding an infant breast milk are huge, but not all mothers are able to produce enough milk to feed their newborns. This has caused many mothers (approximately 55,000!) to turn to the internet to purchase milk from other nursing moms.

However, new research conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital has proved that this is a potentially harmful decision.

Researchers found that what was being advertised as pure human milk wasn’t at all. “We found that one in every 10 samples of breast milk purchased over the Internet had significant amounts of cow’s milk added,” said Sarah A. Keim, Ph.D., lead author of the study and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. This is especially dangerous for infants under 12 months who lack the ability to digest cow’s milk properly, and for breastfeeding kids who may have a milk allergy or dairy intolerance.

“We don’t know for sure why cow’s milk was in the milk that we purchased, but because this milk was sold by the ounce sellers may have had an incentive to add cow’s milk or formula to boost the volume,” Keim told Parents.com. It’s likely that some sellers are profit-driven as breast milk is typically sold for $1-$2 per ounce.

And this is not the first time mothers have been warned against purchasing breast milk over the internet. In 2013, Keim and her team found that 75 percent of breast milk samples that had been bought online contained high levels of bacteria that could make an infant ill.

The only way to avoid contaminated, and possibly dangerous, breast milk, is to not purchase it at all. Mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding or pumping should seek the advice of a medical professional. “They should work closely with their pediatrician to come up with a plan for feeding their baby that meets their unique needs, in terms of how well they are growing, and if there are any medical conditions or allergies,” said Dr. Keim. “For mothers who want to breastfeed, early and high quality lactation support can be very helpful for many women in addressing problems that come up.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know

Image: Bottle with milk via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Girls Can Overcome Bullying More Than Boys With Mom’s Help

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Bullied boyBullied children can often display — and become tolerant of — negative behavior, but a new study determined that a mother’s warmth can prevent aggression and antisocial behavior in some kids, especially girls.

The study analyzed data collected from more than 1,000 children, over the age of 8, on whether they had been bullied; about 68 percent reported having been bullied within the last month. Researchers also visited the families at home to evaluate family conflicts and how a mother acted toward her children — if she was warm and showed pride/pleasure, or if she was cold and harsh. (For this particular study, fathers were not included.)

Girls who received affection and who communicated well with their moms were less likely to internalize the bullying and feel like a victim. But even if boys received maternal warmth, they still absorbed the negative effects of bullying, and antisocial behavior actually increased over five years.

However, mothers also reported less communication with their sons, making the case that increased conversations may lessen the negative impact of bullying on boys.

“Children who develop hostile and distrustful relationships with their parents due to low parental warmth and responsiveness may adopt similar patterns of negative expectations when engaging with peers, as a result of their greater fear and anxiety,” said Grace Yang, lead author of the study.

Researchers even speculated that boys’ behavior might improve with a stronger and supportive network of friends, versus girls who “depended on the parent and family dynamics.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Identify Bullying
How to Identify Bullying
How to Identify Bullying

Image: Bullied boy via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Kids’ Aggression Linked to Excessive Time Spent Playing Video Games

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

kids playing video gamesVideo games often get a bad rap—some believe they cause violent behavior, and others say they’re just plain addictive. Now, a new study further supports the notion that parents should monitor the amount of their child’s gaming screen-time.

Researchers from the University of Oxford concluded that a child’s behavior is influenced more by the time spent playing video games rather than the games’ actual content.

Children (boys and girls) between the ages of 12 and 13 reported how often they played games per day and the type of game they preferred. To assess each child’s behavior, teachers were also asked to report on the kids’ social attitude and academic performance.

The results, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, revealed no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior or poor academic performance. But kids who played video games for three or more hours were prone to misbehavior and hyperactivity. As for kids who played video games for under an hour a day, they were actually linked with positive characteristics.

“Children who played video games with a cooperative and competitive element had significantly fewer emotional problems or problems with peers,” reports PsychCentral. “Children who chose to play solitary games were found to do well academically and displayed fewer emotional problems or got involved in fights.”

It’s important to note that video game use will not make or break your child, but it’s essential that your child balances activities and schoolwork. According to lead author Andrew Przybylski, Ph.D., “a range of other factors in a child’s life will influence their behavior more, as this research suggests that playing electronic games may be a statistically significant but minor factor in how children progress academically or in their emotional well-being.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies

Image: Kids playing video games via Shutterstock

Add a Comment